Working in Angola

Business etiquette

You would think that in hosting some of the richest oil and diamond traders, doing business in Angola would be relatively simple. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Working in Angola

On the World Bank Doing Business Index , Angola came 172nd in the world, meaning that it scored lower than many other Sub-Saharan African countries, including Mozambique, Namibia and Botswana for ease of operating in the public sector.

This is mainly due to poor scoring on dealing with construction permits, getting access to electricity, registering property, access to credit, paying taxes, contract enforcement, resolving companies insolvency and trading across borders.

Corruption

The biggest problem doing business in Angola, which is much to be expected in oil rich countries,  is corruption. Angola ranks amongst the 16th most graft-ridden countries, according to Transparency , a corruption watchdog. Corruption crimes rank lower than in Zimbabwe, but are at about the same level as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Steps are being taken in the right direction to clear the bribe ridden country as President dos Santos has declared a Zero Tolerance plan on corruption in government. Two important laws were also passed in 2010; the Probity Law which imposes criminal penalties on those offering and accepting bribes, and a law which enforces penalties for money laundering.

The last couple of years have seen senior officials being prosecuted for committing crimes and many bank employees being dismissed.      

Business etiquette

Generally, business etiquette is said to be rather Western. It won’t exactly be the type that you’re used to though.

As a general rule, Angolans are straightforward in their decisions and opinions and will be from the first instance you meet them. Don’t be surprised if you wait quite a long time for a business deal to go through as Angolans are said to take their time and carefully make their decisions.

Making an appointment and opening hours

Business hours are usually on a Monday to Friday, based on Western hours. government offices usually close early on a Friday though. Banks generally open from 08:00 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 15:00, Monday to Friday.

You will not have any problems in making an appointment, but do expect a last minute cancellation. Appointments are usually not made too far in advance and are confirmed only a few hours before the appointment is supposed to take place. Also expect your appointment to be rescheduled at short notice. It is therefore important to be flexible with your time on the day that you expect to have an appointment.

English is usually spoken amongst senior staff, however, most business is done in Portuguese and you will find that receptionists do not speak any English.

With regards to dress code, smart business dress will be appreciated, however because of the climate, most men will not be fully suited, a tie and jacket is not usually worn. Businesswomen will usually be dressed formally with a jacket and either smart trousers or reasonable length skirt.

On the World Bank Doing Business Index , Angola came 172nd in the world, meaning that it scored lower than many other Sub-Saharan African countries, including Mozambique, Namibia and Botswana for ease of operating in the public sector.

This is mainly due to poor scoring on dealing with construction permits, getting access to electricity, registering property, access to credit, paying taxes, contract enforcement, resolving companies insolvency and trading across borders.

Corruption

The biggest problem doing business in Angola, which is much to be expected in oil rich countries,  is corruption. Angola ranks amongst the 16th most graft-ridden countries, according to Transparency , a corruption watchdog. Corruption crimes rank lower than in Zimbabwe, but are at about the same level as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Steps are being taken in the right direction to clear the bribe ridden country as President dos Santos has declared a Zero Tolerance plan on corruption in government. Two important laws were also passed in 2010; the Probity Law which imposes criminal penalties on those offering and accepting bribes, and a law which enforces penalties for money laundering.

The last couple of years have seen senior officials being prosecuted for committing crimes and many bank employees being dismissed.      

Business etiquette

Generally, business etiquette is said to be rather Western. It won’t exactly be the type that you’re used to though.

As a general rule, Angolans are straightforward in their decisions and opinions and will be from the first instance you meet them. Don’t be surprised if you wait quite a long time for a business deal to go through as Angolans are said to take their time and carefully make their decisions.

Making an appointment and opening hours

Business hours are usually on a Monday to Friday, based on Western hours. government offices usually close early on a Friday though. Banks generally open from 08:00 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 15:00, Monday to Friday.

You will not have any problems in making an appointment, but do expect a last minute cancellation. Appointments are usually not made too far in advance and are confirmed only a few hours before the appointment is supposed to take place. Also expect your appointment to be rescheduled at short notice. It is therefore important to be flexible with your time on the day that you expect to have an appointment.

English is usually spoken amongst senior staff, however, most business is done in Portuguese and you will find that receptionists do not speak any English.

With regards to dress code, smart business dress will be appreciated, however because of the climate, most men will not be fully suited, a tie and jacket is not usually worn. Businesswomen will usually be dressed formally with a jacket and either smart trousers or reasonable length skirt.

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here: